Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Comfort Zone

I'm in a reading slump.

I often get in these when I'm deep into a writing stretch, and I'm having a pretty good writing stretch right now. In the mornings I'm revising the novel I'm working on. In the afternoon, I've started a brand new manuscript.

But as I'm writing, I'm finding crime fiction isn't holding my attention. It's not that I hate crime fiction... I LOVE IT. But what's odd is even authors I can't put down--right now, I can put them down.

But that's a good thing.

It means I'm branching out with my reading. In my attempt to find new things to read, I've discovered Neil Gaiman, GRR Martin, comics I would have tried before, and some other fantasy/sci-fi novels who've caught my attention.

It's always good to read outside your comfort zone. So, for once, I'm not frustrated by a reading slump. I'm looking forward to coming out of it and checking out some new authors.

So... questions... Can you read during a time period when you're deep into your writing?

How often do you try to read outside your comfort zone?


Dana King said...

Reading while I'm writing doesn't bother me. In fact, sometimes it helps me over a hump, as a way to get the reading/writing part of my brain jump started.

As for comfort zone, I don't go outside often enough. I keep meaning to, then I read a recommendation for a book on a crime fiction related blog and download it to my Kindle before it slips my mind/

Martin Stanley said...

Reading whilst writing isn't an issue, although making sure that what you're reading doesn't register itself on your own prose is a tad more difficult.

Reading outside my comfort zone is something I've been doing a lot more of recently. It's very easy to get in a crime rut. Seeing what else is out there means you often discover something superb that you might never have even noticed if you hadn't opened your eyes to it.

Great blog, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, when the youngins were little and tear-assing around the house at all hours with paint on their faces and feathers in their hair yelling "Get Piggy! Get Piggy!" I discovered the one place I could reliably settle in to read without being distrubed was in the tub, mostly on account of the bathroom door had a lock. And so, every night before bed, I'd grab a glass of something whiskyish, pour a hot bath and settle in for naked reading time. Now, I can't sleep without that ritual. Literaly. Maybe it's 3AM, and I was working until 10 and then I wrote for a few hours, and I have to be up at 7AM, doesn't matter. I still need a book and a bathe, if not necessarily the booze. So yeah. Doesn't matter what I'm working on writing wise, every night I'm spening at least 45 minutes reading. And I'm very clean.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I read three types of books: crime, literary and non-fiction. I try to read SF or fantasy but it never works for me. I have read a few westerns I've liked (David Cranmer, Ed Gorman, James Reasoner, Elmer Kelton, Richard Wheeler) but not as a steady diet. So no, I don't much read out of my comfort zone.

Ben said...

I know most people find it difficult. I find it distracting sometimes, because I'm always on alert for new stuff and it can influence what I already wrote. I just finished FUN & GAMES now and I learned a lot about structure and pacing.

But I like the idea of going outside the comfort zone while doing so. It keeps your mind looking for different elements and new fields to explore, so you don't obsess over the technical stuff.

Anonymous said...

I don't like to read crime fiction while I'm writing it. And the more I like writers the further I have to stay away, as their style is sure to creep into mine. (I can flip through my first book and say, "Hey, there's a James Ellroy sentence! And there's a John Macdonald observation!")

So while writing the first draft, I read history and biography. The upside is that once my first draft is done, I get to gorge myself on the new books from all my fave crime writers.

Mike Dennis said...

I always read at night when I get into bed. Even after a full day of writing.

Anonymous said...

Hubby says I'll read anything, including cereal boxes. Aside from the "how do you know what you're eating if you don't read the box" arguments, I can't really say much. My reading list, my currently reading, my TBR pile is usually a good mix. And my book club ensures I get a good dose of stuff I wouldn't pick up on my own. Recently I picked up FROM EARTH TO THE MOON, which has a super-funny section about FL (and how FL and TX were rivals for an imaginary predecessor to NASA by at least a hundred years.)